(Translated by Thomas Snaith)
It definitely wasn´t FCB´s night. It would have needed an extraordinary performance to beat an impressive Arsenal FC. The English proved that they are currently in top form. Fast paced football and direct passing was evidently too much for FCB´s defense to handle. From the 8th minute onwards, the visitors dominate the fixture.
For most of the game, FCB were unable to compete against Arsenal´s precise passing and intelligent game. Within an hour the visitors were leading 4:0, Lucas Pérez scoring a hattrick and Alex Iwobi with the cherry on top. “Before we had a chance to implement what we had planned, to offensively defend, we were lagging behind by several goals. That´s what made it difficult for us”, stated Urs Fischer.
FCB never gave up
Despite Basel´s bleak outlook, the “Bebbi” never gave up. Basel´s 11 players fought throughout the 90 minutes, trying to make things difficult for the Gunners. FCB were not that successful in rocking Arsenal´s boat. Basel´s fighting spirit was rewarded towards the end of the fixture, when Davide Callà won back the ball in Arsenal´s half; He passed to Seydou Doumbia who played a one-two with Marc Janko, scoring the for the home team, 1:4 (final score).
In the past, FC Basel 1893 regularly beat English teams, which may be the reason Basel had high hopes for the fixture against Arsenal FC. Arsène Wenger´s style however does not represent typical English football, but more that of Southern-European teams. Basel have often experienced difficulties against teams that play faced paced, technical football.
A draw would not have been enough
It is disappointing that FCB will not be represented in European competition in the new year. For the past 6 seasons, FC Basel 1893 have consecutively been represented in the Europa League or the Champions League knock out stages. Basel fail to reach one of their main goals. Basel fans have surely been spoiled for the past few years, as FCB have repeatedly achieved big results. Even if Basel would have drawn against the Gunners, they would still have been knocked out of the competition, as the fixture between Paris Saint-Germain and PFC Ludogorets ended in a 2:2 draw.
Basel would have needed a victory against Arsenal in order to qualify. On the night, FCB were far away from beating Arsenal, which is why they will only be Europa League spectators after Christmas. Basel did not fail to reach their goal by losing against Arsenal; Fischer stated “The disappointment is big, as we failed to win points in our fixtures against PSG and Ludogorets; we had the potential to walk away with more points.”
FC Basel 1893 – Arsenal FC 1:4 (0:2)
St. Jakob-Park. – 36‘000 Supporters (sold out stadium). – Referee Manuel De Sousa (Portugal).
Goals: 8. Pérez 0:1 (Gibbs). 16. Pérez 0:2 (Gibbs). 47. Pérez 0:3 (Alexis Sánchez). 54. Iwobi 0:4 (Özil). 79. Doumbia 1:4 (Janko).
FCB: Vaclik; Lang, Suchy, Balanta, Traoré; Serey Die (73. Zuffi), Xhaka; Elyounoussi (59. Callà), Delgado (55. Doumbia), Steffen; Janko.
AFC: Ospina; Gabriel, Holding, Koscielny, Gibbs; Ramsey (70. Ramsey), Xhaka; Iwobi, Özil (71. Walcott), Lucas Pérez; Alexis Sánchez (69. Elneny).
Notes: FCB without Sporar (injured). AFC without Cazorla (injured) and Coquelin (suspended). FCB Bench: Bjarnason, Callà, Doumbia, Gaber, Hoegh, Vailati and Zuffi. – Yellow Cards: 36. Gibbs. – 67. Alexis Sánchez´s free-kick hit the crossbar. 88. Steffen was injured and could not play on.